Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
21-PM3-01: ST8.6 - Inclusive Innovation
Friday, 21/June/2019:
4:45pm - 6:15pm

Session Chair: Estelle PEYRARD, CRG
Session Chair: Cecile Chamaret, Ecole Polytechnique
Session Chair: Thierry Rayna, École Polytechnique / CNRS
Session Chair: Theo PAPAIOANNOU
Location: Amphi Painlevé (Polytechnique)

Session Abstract

Innovation has always been considered as a path towards progress and a great opportunity for society at large. However, technology often leaves aside certain groups of people: for instance those who do not have sufficient knowledge to understand it, those who do not have enough financial means to afford it, and those who lack the physical ability to use it. In an increasingly technological world, the risk of widening the gap between those who benefit from technology and those who are excluded from it is real. Although innovation has been arguably increasingly open, the needs of people in those excluded groups are often forgotten.

Consequently, this special track calls for papers that will investigate the following questions:

- How can we enable innovation for people with disabilities, on low incomes, with long-term illnesses, of older age, ... ?

- How can we foster awareness of their specific needs ?

- What specific methodologies are required to understand and communicate those needs ?

More generally, this track welcomes contributions related to inclusive innovation, innovation with (and for) people with disabilities and health issues, minority and less advantaged groups.

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Inclusive innovation challenges

Estelle Peyrard, Cécile Chamaret, Rayna Thierry

Ecole Polytechnique, France


As open innovation increasingly enables users to participate in the design of products and services, some groups of people, such as persons with disabilities or illness, aged, or with low-incomes, remain excluded both from the processes of innovation and the use of new technologies


The recent concept of Inclusive Innovation (Guth, 2005; Utz & Dahlman, 2007) has highlighted the importance of innovating with and for excluded groups, with focus in the literature on emerging countries (Foster & Heeks, 2013; George, McGahan, & Prabhu, 2012; van der Merwe & Grobbelaar, 2016). In the 1980s, many companies began cooperating intensively with their environment as part of their innovation process (Chesbrough, 2003). How to best involve users in innovation is one of the challenges that has soon interested researchers (von Hippel, 1986). Few of them have focused on the involvment of excluded groups whereas some have shown that innovating with persons with disabilities or for emerging countries can help discovering new usages, products or services for standard users (Hannukainen and Hölttä-Otto, 2006; Midler, 2013).

Literature Gap

Inclusive Innovation has been conceptualized through the Inclusive Innovation Ladder (Heeks & Amalia, 2013). But this ladder is not efficient in studying the link between the participation of excluded groups to innovation and the social impact that can be reached.

Research Questions

What are the different ways of doing Inclusive Innovation in companies and institutions? What are the associated challenges for companies and institutions?


With a qualitative abductive approach, we use several cases, both from literature and field study, to illustrate the concept of inclusive innovation, in terms of participation of excluded groups and social impact.

Empirical Material

We rely on two sources of cases :

- 2 cases described in the litterature : the case of the mobile phone in emerging countries dans the case of the Logan car

- a dozen of cases from field study : having participated to 5 to 10 workshops with companies innovating for people with disabilities (intervention research) and having interviewed the designers or developers of solutions for people with disabilities, we describe a dozen of companies cases based on field study.

The companies studied are from very different sizes.


We find out that the challenges of Inclusive Innovation are widely shared between the different excluded groups, be they disabled, aged or on low incomes.

Our results show that the inclusiveness of an innovation can take very different paths.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our paper presents a new framework to qualify the modalities of innovation opened to excluded groups. This new framework is thought as a starting point to qualify the inclusiveness of innovation in companies, institutions or regions. It goes beyond the Inclusive Innovation Ladder (Heeks & Amalia, 2013), proposing to study separately the participation of excluded groups to innovation and the innovation process leading to social impact. The framework is also used to identify all the challenges faced by Inclusive Innovation. For instance, when innovating with users from excluded groups, companies and institutions face difficulties in choosing and recruiting them, having their consent, taking into account the multiple stakeholders, and adapting their methodology to communication, mobility and cognitive disabilities. Each step toward inclusive innovation has its own challenges that research has begun to describe but our paper consolidate them and linke them to the innovation process for good practices to emerge.

Contribution to Practice

Our framework of Inclusive Innovation can help practitionners to better situate their innovation process and begins providing answers to the challenges associated with each level of inclusiveness.


In Inclusive Innovation, we use theoretical considerations to link a society issue to companies and institutions practices.


Chesbrough, H. W. (2006). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard Business Press.

Foster, C., & Heeks, R. (2013). Conceptualising Inclusive Innovation: Modifying Systems of Innovation Frameworks to Understand Diffusion of New Technology to Low-Income Consumers. The European Journal of Development Research, 25(3), 333–355.

George, G., McGahan, A. M., & Prabhu, J. (2012). Innovation for Inclusive Growth: Towards a Theoretical Framework and a Research Agenda. Journal of Management Studies, 49(4)

Guth, M. (2005). Innovation, social inclusion and coherent regional development: a new diamond for a socially inclusive innovation policy in regions. European Planning Studies, 13(2), 333–349.

Heeks, R., & Amalia, M. (2013). Inclusive Innovation : Definition, Conceptualisation and Future Research Priorities. IPDM Development Informatics Working Papers, 53.

Story, M. F., Mueller, J. L., & Mace, R. L. (1998). The Universal Design File: Designing for People of All Ages and Abilities. Revised Edition. Center for Universal Design, NC State University, Box 8613, Raleigh, NC 27695-8613.

Utz, M., & Dahlman, C. (2007). Promoting Inclusive Innovation. In Unleashing India’s Innovation (pp. 105–129). The World Bank.

van der Merwe, E., & Grobbelaar, S. . (2016). Evaluating inclusive innovative performance: The case of the eHealth system of the Western Cape Region, South Africa. In 2016 Portland

New approaches to innovation support targeting inventors and idea owners

Dzamila Bienkowska, Charlotte Norrman

Department of Management and Engineering, Linkoping University, Sweden


In this study we focus on how publicly financed innovation support can be designed to engage broader target groups and individuals that potentially face higher barriers to developing their ideas than traditional target groups.


Publicly provided innovation support is often mainly targeted towards sectors and actors perceived as having a high innovation potential, such as ICT and biotech (Tödtling et al 2011, Bertoni & Tykvova 2015). Furthermore, actors such as individual inventors are currently often overlooked by the existing support structures and systems (c.f. Bergek & Norrman, 2014).

However, there is a growing interest in exploring ways of providing innovation support that can contribute more directly to other goals such as sustainability, both environmental (see e.g. Gliedt et al 2018) and social, e.g. through targeting previously marginalised actors (Lindberg 2014); as well as in how innovation support can be tailored towards the needs of developing countries (Watkins et al 2015).

Literature Gap

More empirical studies of policy initiatives that engage broader target groups are needed as this is a new and developing area for innovation policy.

Research Questions

How can innovation support reach and attract new groups of idea owners?

How can innovation support towards broader target groups be designed and what effects does it contribute to?

What are the perceptions of the new groups of idea owners receiving innovation support?


Data has been collected through interviews with managers at intermediaries that have been selected by the Swedish government agency Vinnova to channel support to new groups of idea owners.

Interactive research approach (i.e. discussions during workshops) has been used to collect additional data on the intermediaries’ approach and experiences.

Furthermore, a survey of the idea owners that have received support through these intermediaries will be completed during April of 2019. The survey consists of 25 questions that cover the perceptions and experiences of the idea owners involved in this support program.

Empirical Material

The empirical material consists of interviews and workshop discussions with eight intermediaries. The studied intermediaries are located in different regions of Sweden and represent a variety of categories ranging from inventors’ associations to makerspaces and academic actors. The survey will be distributed to participants of the support programs offered by these intermediaries (approximately 300 individuals).


Our results address ways of attracting broader target groups to innovation support activities; as well as of designing guidance and support suitable for these target groups. For example, the importance of broad and accessible outreach activities, both through traditional channels and new channels such as social media, where inspiration and information is provided to potential participants will be underscored. Furthermore, outcomes of intermediaries’ support activities both in quantitative and qualitative terms will be presented and discussed.

Contribution to Scholarship

This study will provide insights on how innovation support can be designed in order to reach broader target groups and contribute to promoting diversity as well as how support activities can be tailored towards idea owners during early stages of development of their ideas.

Contribution to Practice

The studied support program, e.g. its design and outcomes, is of interest to innovation and development policy actors, both national and regional, that strive to broaden their outreach and widen the scope of innovation support.


Our study relates to the overall theme of societal outreach within innovation challenge, in particular how innovation support can contribute to more inclusive innovation – both in terms of what kinds of innovations are supported and who can be considered an innovator by the support system.


Bergek, A., & Norrman, C. (2014). Integrating the supply and demand sides of public support to new technology-based firms. Science and Public Policy, 42(4), 514-529.

Bertoni, F., & Tykvová, T. (2015). Does governmental venture capital spur invention and innovation? Evidence from young European biotech companies. Research Policy, 44(4), 925-935.

Gliedt, T., Hoicka, C. E., & Jackson, N. (2018). Innovation intermediaries accelerating environmental sustainability transitions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 174, 1247-1261.

Lindberg, M. (2014). From exclusion to inclusion in public innovation support? Innovative practices in bottom-up networks. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 18(4), 91-107.

Tödtling, F., Schneider, R., Grillitsch, M., & Höglinger, C. (2011). Constructing Regional Advantage in the Austrian ICT Sector—Towards Fine-Tuned Innovation Policies?. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2(4), 533-549.

Watkins, A., Papaioannou, T., Mugwagwa, J., & Kale, D. (2015). National innovation systems and the intermediary role of industry associations in building institutional capacities for innovation in developing countries: A critical review of the literature. Research Policy, 44(8), 1407-1418.

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